The Good, the Bad and the Ugly In nature, all bugs are not
created equal. At
least not equal to the eye of a gardener. Some bugs will eat your plants leaves, some
will eat their roots. Then there are those bugs that eat the eaters of plants. It’s
a bug eat bug world in a garden and you want the most helpful bugs to survive. Still other bugs prefer to just feast on the
carbohydrate-rich pollen and nectar of a plants flowers. This feasting of pollen and nectar is called pollination.
Plants flowers like the ones on tomatoes are unusual in one special way. Their
flowers have both male and female parts in each individual flower. A little
vibration or perhaps some wind could shake them to cause pollination. Other
vegetable flowers need a little more assistance. Lots of flowers in the garden
don’t have both female and male reproductive virtues in each. To produce new fruit
and viable seed these vegetable plants need an exchange of pollen between their
Garden beneficial insects like bees, small wasps and some
flies are happy to perform the exchange of pollen from flower to flower, as they
need the pollen for their own survival. To help attract these small insects it
is helpful to grow plants which produce small flowers. Plants like Parsley,
Carrot, Lettuce, Dill and Fennel all produce small flowers in which attract beneficial
insects in droves. Flowers from these types of plants are beneficial insects’
addiction and they can’t stay away. Growing these types of plants in your
gardens and letting them bolt (flower). This is the single best way to insure
good pollination, therefor great and efficient vegetable production.
All small insects are not beneficial and definitely not helpful.
While covering gardens with mosquito nets may help prevent moths from getting
to lay their caterpillar eggs on your vegetables, nets may not protect your
plants from even smaller pests. Nets also absolutely don’t help in pollination.
Some small bugs still make their way in to yours plants.
Sometimes these bugs go unnoticed to the untrained or unaware eye. Aphids
(green Flies), White Flies, Mites and Mealy bugs are some of these culprits.
There’s nothing like one day going out to pick some lettuce for dinner and find
your lettuce to be covered with one of these pests.
The fight is on
Never give up on your vegetable plants when something is
bugging them. There is good news for gardeners in these infestations
situations. Pest can be beat without expensive and dangerous chemical
insecticides. Awareness and plenty of observation from the beginning is the key
to success in these matters.
Being that I cherish my solitude and calming walks through
my gardens daily, I always keep a keen eye out for garden pests. I am always on
the lookout for clues of caterpillars but occasionally find aphids or other
small bugs hidden on protected parts of my vegetables leafy vegetation.Sometimes I don’t really notice them until my
vegetation is fully infested. When this happens, the first thing I do is get my
garden hose and spray a sharp stream of water on the plants infestation. This
will often remove all bugs. Sometimes the problem is more persistent. The best
thing I feel I can do at this point is to grab a spray bottle, put a little
dish soap and water in it and spray away. This immediately suffocates the bugs
and usually solves the problem.
I have also heard of some
gardeners using fly paper around their vegetation. Though this might work, I
feel this technique could also trap the beneficial insects in the area. Funny story
but I also read once that ants coral aphids and milk them like small cattle on
plants.I don’t know if this is factually
correct, but it seems possible. Either way I hope to never give the ants a
chance to prove their cow-bug skills.Threw all this, if your pest issues are still persistent, box stores and
nurseries sell organic insecticides like neem oil made from plants that are
specifically gathered for use in killing small pests on plants. These
insecticides are pricey and I believe there use should be limited. In my
opinion the last resort is to not only rinse your vegetables after harvesting
them, but thoroughly clean the greens before consuming them. This is the best way to ensure you’re not
knowingly consuming them.